No. 7 Lady Bulldogs brace for busy upcoming week of games.
It wasn't a shutout.
But it was a victory for the Rolla High School girls' soccer team that moved it one win away from a conference title.
After recording nine shutouts in their first 14 games, the Lady Bulldogs gave up a game-tying goal 57 minutes into Thursday's Ozark Conference game against Joplin on Kiwanis Field at the Bray Sports Complex.
However, behind a hat trick from junior forward Nicole Howard, Rolla used a fast finish to post a 4-1 win.
It was the 13th straight victory for the Lady Bulldogs, now 14-1 overall, 8-0 in the conference and ranked No. 7 in the latest Missouri Class 2 state poll.
A victory over Springfield Glendale April 30 at Springfield would give Rolla the undefeated league championship. The Glendale Lady Falcons are also still undefeated in the conference but still have to play Rolla, Waynesville and Springfield Kickapoo.
With 23 minutes left in Thursday's outing Joplin scored to tie the game 1-1. The Lady Bulldogs responded with two goals over the next 10 minutes to take a 3-1 advantage and then scored the final goal with four minutes remaining.
Nicole Howard netted three goals and freshman Emma Laney added one for Rolla on Thursday. Freshman Brynn Proffitt got the game's only assist.
"After playing a poor game for 60 minutes Joplin's goal woke us up and we played the last 20 minutes the way we are capable of playing," Mike Howard said. "The five games we have next week are all very difficult games. Hopefully it will help prepare us for the district tournament."
Rolla won the junior varsity game 2-0. Marissa Hill and Sierra LeClaire scored the goals for the Rolla jayvee squad, which improves to 3-4-3.
The Lady Bulldogs begin a busy schedule next week on Monday, hosting the Jefferson City Lady Jays at 5 p.m. on Kiwanis Field. RHS then plays at Glendale Tuesday and in the Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame Tournament May 3-4.
At the Notre Dame Tournament Rolla faces Morton, Ill. at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, May 3 and on May 4 takes on St. Thomas Moore at 8:30 a.m. and University (Ill.) High at 1:30 p.m.